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Audit Report: OAS-RA-10-07

April 9, 2010 

Management Alert on Environmental Management's Select Strategy for Disposition of Savannah River Site Depleted Uranium Oxides

The Administration and the Congress, through policy statements and passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), have signaled that they hope that proactive actions by agency Inspectors General will help ensure that Federal Recovery Act activities are transparent, effective and efficient. In that context, the purpose of this management alert is to share with you concerns that have been raised to the Office of Inspector General regarding the planned disposition of the Savannah River Site's (SRS) inventory of Depleted Uranium (DU) oxides. This inventory, generated as a by-product of the nuclear weapons production process and amounting to approximately 15,600 drums of DU oxides, has been stored at SRS for decades. A Department source we deem reliable and credible recently came to the Office of Inspector General expressing concern that imminent actions are planned that may not provide for the most cost effective disposition of these materials. During April 2009, the Department chose to use funds provided under the Recovery Act to accelerate final disposition of the SRS inventory of DU oxides. After coordination with State of Utah regulators, elected officials and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department initiated a campaign to ship the material to a facility operated by Energy Solutions in Clive, Utah. Although one shipment of a portion of the material has already been sent to the Energy Solutions facility, the majority of the product remains at SRS. As had been planned, both for the shipment already made and those planned in the near term, the Energy Solutions facility was to have been the final disposal location for the material.

Topic: Environmental Cleanup